The Shake is the book I chose as the Crime/Mystery Fiction selection for The Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge. It is also a book I received from the author in exchange for a review.
ISBN #: 978-1453748831
Page Count: 238
Copyright: September 27, 2010
(Taken from back cover)
In The Shake, Mel Nicolai has turned to a hybrid genre combining hard-boiled realism with vampires. Contemporary central California is the setting. Shake is the vampire. Who to take off the menu is the question. Driven by contradictory needs, Shake pursues an elusive balance: a way to satisfy his need for human blood, preserve his suburban anonymity, and somehow acknowledge his debt to the people upon whom his life depends.
To say I loved this book would be a small understatement. I didn't love it for the entertainment value, although it certainly was entertaining. I loved this book because of the intellectualism of the main character's view. I have a certain affinity for things, whether they be books, movies or people, that can make me think as well as entertain me during the process. This book definitely did both.
The first few chapters are an introduction to Shake, the main character and a vampire, through an internal philosophical monologue. Yes, I realize this may sound utterly boring and I did wonder if the whole book was going to be this way, but it was not boring (and, no, the whole book was not this way). As a matter of fact, those first chapters helped to build the foundation of my understanding of Shake.
Shake is a very contemplative individual. Even though he's a vampire, he doesn't kill just for the sake of killing. He has refined his selections of "donors" to those that are deemed "not worthy of living" through a process of elimination created to help alleviate whatever guilt he may briefly feel from feeding on a human. Not only does his process help alleviate guilt, but Shake also uses it to maintain his anonymity in his suburban life.
It is during one of his feedings that Shake's curiosity uncovers a coincidence relating to his own life. He chooses to follow the coincidence as far as he can ... not because he feels responsible, but because he's interested in finding out why things happen as they do and why people choose to act as they act. It is throughout this journey the reader follows Shake.
Entirely told in first-person, the reader is introduced to Mio, Karla and Tony, the people in Shake's inner circle. Each of these complimentary characters have their own unique persona and combine well within Shake's world. The dynamics of the group give just enough lightness to the story so the reader isn't bogged down by Shake's contemplations, but not enough to consider this a "fluff" piece. It is extremely well-balanced and will satisfy both left- and right-brainers. I am eagerly awaiting the next segment of Shake's life to be published and released.